One of the most influential UK record labels ever. Originally from Sheffield, more recently based in London. It has a back catalogue of some of the most celebrated electronic acts:Sabres of Paradise, Red Snapper, Black Dog, LFO and Aphex Twin. It celebrated its 20th anniversary last year with a roster that it still diverse and experimental.

Wiki: Warp, commonly referred to as Warp Records, is a pioneering independent English record label, founded in Sheffield in 1989, notable for discovering some of the most enduring artists in electronic music.

Founded by Steve Beckett and the late Rob Mitchell from their experiences working at the FON record store, alongside producer Robert Gordon, the label (whose name was chosen because the original name, ‘Warped Records’ was difficult to distinguish over the telephone) soon became home to artists who would be highly influential in shaping the future of music.

The first release (WAP1) was by Forgemasters (produced by Robert Gordon), whose limited 500 copy pressing of “Track With No Name” was financed by an Enterprise Allowance grant and distributed in a borrowed car. It set a trend for the early releases both in terms of sound and the use of purple sleeves (designed by The Designers Republic). The follow up was Nightmares on Wax’s “Dextrous”, which charted, selling 30,000 copies despite a lack of promotion. This led to greater commercial success; by its fifth release the label had its first top-twenty chart entry with LFO and their eponymous single, “LFO”, which sold 130,000 copies and peaked at #12 in the UK chart in July 1990; by coincidence, that same month another Warp act, Tricky Disco, reached #14 in the UK chart with another eponymous single, “Tricky Disco”.

The first album released was Sweet Exorcist’s C.C.E.P. in 1991. In the same year Robert Gordon left Warp acrimoniously.

Warp went on to release a series of singles and albums from 1992 under the Artificial Intelligence heading, a series of experimental electronic music releases by artists such as Aphex Twin (as Diceman and later Polygon Window), Autechre, B12, the Black Dog, Richie Hawtin and Alex Paterson (of the Orb). Initially all the album releases were gatefold sleeves and coloured vinyl, often with striking covers by The Designers Republic or Phil Wolstenholme. A VHS compilation of digitally animated music videos called Motion was released in conjunction with the second Artificial Intelligence compilation, and featured an early work by director David Slade.

Since then the label has evolved, and later artists were a similarly eclectic group, and included the influential DJ Andrew Weatherall (as Sabres of Paradise and later as Two Lone Swordsmen), the live sensation Red Snapper and experimental hip-hop group Antipop Consortium.

In 1999 the label released Warp 10: Influences, Classics, Remixes, a compilation spanning six discs, featuring early acid house and techno music that influenced the label and its artists, as well as classic tracks from Warp’s back catalog, and new remixes of Warp material. The collection celebrated the label’s tenth anniversary.

In 2000 the label moved its operation to London along with its physical music and merchandise store Warpmart.

Co-founder Rob Mitchell was diagnosed with cancer in early 2001. He died later that year.

From the two Artificial Intelligence compilations:

Darrel Fitton – Blipsalt  

Musicology – Telefone 529  

Up! – Spiritual High  

Polygon Window – My Teapot  

And there’s more:

Free MP3 Downloads from Warp:

Gonjasufi – Ancestors (produced by Flying Lotus)

Nice Nice – See Waves

The Hundred In The Hands – Dressed In Dresden

Available: http://warp.net/records/general/2010-compilation

Buy product from Warp: http://warp.net/

~ by acidted on January 26, 2010.

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